I gotta have Faith…

Remember that song by George Michael? And I know all the games you play because I play them too…umm, yup. I have been playing games and I need to have faith instead!

My best friend’s husband died about a week ago. He was having surgery and it didn’t go well. The thing is, he had been in a car accident a few years ago and several surgeries since then. He even learned how to walk again! So why did God chose the final surgery to be the one that ended everything? And why did God let my bestie find her true love only to take him away?!

I haven’t written about God lately and to be completely honest, I haven’t spoken to him much either. Everything that has happened to me and everything I have endured didn’t turn me away. Something lately has really taken Him out of my focus, though. I don’t know if it is the virus and how the new normal is making me feel crazy, or if I am just tired of trying to justify all the bad by saying, “I just know something good is coming for me, God wouldn’t send me through so many fires and not have something on the other side to make it all worth it.” Nope, I have lost my Jesus mojo.

I started seeing someone a few months ago and it has been so amazing in so many ways but not in so many other ways. The thing is, he wants a casual relationship. He wants to be able to just have fun and hang out but not have any of the pitfalls of a relationship. Pitfalls? Like what? When I try to tell him about my day or something that is happening at work he listens but then doesn’t respond about it. Actually, his response is usually something to change the subject! Except that sometimes he is all ears. And he makes me food when I go to his house. Lately he had been opening up to me more. It is starting to feel like a relationship amd I am confused!

When we first started seeing each other, I told him a lie. It was a douzy, too. Not going to get into the details except to say that when I talked about it in the past I was not met with peace and understanding so I chose to keep it to myself this time. We were casually dating, after all. Except that the more he opened up to me, the guiltier I felt. One day last week I blurted out the truth. He was shocked but not too shocked to get up and leave. It has been almost a week without any contact. I texted him every day to say I was sorry and to tell him I hoped he would be able to talk to me. The last text I sent was to say I was not going to text him anymore and if and when he wants to talk he could. Now I am left to my own devices. And that is not usually good hahahaha!

To bring it back to my friend, I have been thinking about the whole soul mate thing. I am alone right now, hoping he will reach out to me. I still want that to happen but if it doesn’t that will be okay, too. I am enjoying spending time with this man and I love the feeling I have when I am not with him and I am remembering something we did. But I DO want the pitfalls of a relationship. I want to have a bad day and have him tell me I am being terrible. I want him to be a jerk because of something going on in his life and me to understand why because we are talking about everything. And I want to be able to tell him it will be okay and that he is being a jerk! I hope I am strong enough to tell him that when we talk again.

One thing I do know is that I need to go back to understanding that Jesus is walking with me. I am not going to sit here and say that I have full faith again but I am going to work on it. I am stronger when I know God has my back! I gotta have faith!

Oh, when that love comes down without devotion
Well, it takes a strong man, baby
But I’m showin’ you the door–Faith by George Michael

Molly Ringworm

There is another outbreak at the shelter–the kittens have ringworm. I truly felt like the world’s worst person even though I knew it wasn’t actually my fault–it is not really anyone’s fault! I spent a lot of time feeling bad and sat in the cat room to watch tv with the shelter kitties (yup, cat lady!) but then I moved forward. The kittens were isolated in their own special room so that room just needs to be bleached and cleaned while they are being treated in the back building. Problem solved.

Except, God had a few more tricks up His sleeve. Right when I felt like I was getting a grip on reality and my mind was back at peace, I brought two different cats to the vets only to find out they also have ringworm. The vet is calling it an outbreak now and we have a plan of action to put into place. Oh, and I have a few different spots on my hand and my arm so I am also infected. Well, what the heck?!

Actually, though, I know. I am getting comfortable in my life and I have gotten lazy about my morning “thanking God for my life and my future” prayer. I have never believed in a God who holds grudges or who punishes the wicked or any of that fire and brimstone stuff but it is pretty obvious that this is what is going on. Is ringworm the modern version of a plague?! We are treating them all and using this time to disinfect the main cat area so it is a blessing in disguise. I am also having to ask for help from the other important people who run the shelter. Another push from God?

A little humor about this–one of the adult cats with Ringworm is named Molly 🙂

Being grateful even when it isn’t obvious!

It has been a while since I talked about my 21 Days to a grateful heart, sorry I didn’t finish! Things have been so busy and insane between the new job and the state lockdown. No excuses, though. I was on day 18…so without further adieu–

Day 18 focuses on thanking God for the people in my life. Not just the normal people like your family and friends, but thanking for the people who serve my coffee at Dunkin Donuts and the people who bag my groceries at Stop and Shop or deliver my mail. How about the people who do stuff behind the scenes? Like the people who keep my electricity on so I can see at night and be warm when it is cold. Or the obnoxious people at Comcast who make me so furious and still keep my internet running smoothly. Do YOU thank God for them?

The reflect on day 18 is to take a look at the people around me, the ones who interact with me on a regular basis and ask myself if I exhibit gratitude to them. Am I friendly? My gut feeling is that I am. I love talking to people and I love especially when I feel like they truly love their job and it shows. But am I grateful? I have done my best to thank God in my prayers for all the people around me, even the ones who have wronged me because I know there is a reason for their presence in my life. The respond section tells me to make a list and write one specific thing about them I am grateful for and so I will do that. And not just saying thank you for keeping my electricity on because that is their job and not them!

Sorry this is a lame post but it is one that needs to be said. Who are you grateful for in your everyday life?

Using God’s Hands to close a Door

I did it–I closed my business. God and I have gone back and forth about this one because I have wanted to do it since I lost my Beloved but God told me to wait. I started this business with Albert pushing me. Every time I wanted to quit he was the first one to tell me I couldn’t or I shouldn’t. I really lost my mojo after I found out he was sick and I slowly backed away. I changed over to cats only after he passed but even that was not enough of a change. I needed to close it as the official business because I am scared. I need to have faith to move a mountain and not have fears that the one who made me and made the world can’t handle something as little as my life without pet sitting to fall back on.

God gave me the animal shelter to take my mind off of it. He gave me the animal shelter to keep me from falling into a pit of despair and hopelessness because I feel alive when I am there. Mostly, though, he gave me the animal shelter to remind me that I am strong enough to figure it out and pay my own bills without anyone else. I know that God put me in the right place at the right time because He knew it would do all this for me. And I am grateful.

Here is where it gets tricky, though. God ALSO has reminded me how I need to be wise about it and not just quit Amanda’s Kitty Pals. I need to make sure I am financially secure before I completely walk away from the business because even though I am over it I need to be a grown up and have a plan. I didn’t want to do that but I did. Just to make sure I was true in my promise, He had me lose a pretty big account. I believe God was testing me to see if I would use that as an excuse to walk away from the business before I was ready. I am listening these days so I didn’t!

I still have accounts and I will continue to cat sit as an individual until I am fully stable but I am almost there. And I have a plan to get another job so I can actually save some money instead of just making enough to live. I am pretty sure God has his hands on that as well!

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Be a Suzie Sunshine!

Do you have thoughts of gratitude or griping throughout the day? Day 17 talks about how easy it is for our minds to turn to complaining. Do you think when you walk up people think–Oh no, here comes Debbie Downer? Or maybe they think that when they are having a tough time they should talk to you because you are always so positive. I know I hope to be Susie Sunshine!

The reflect for Day 17 is to write down my top three complaints for today. After I have written them down, I should count to 10 and reevaluate and redirect. I need to surrender my rights to those complaints and ask the Lord to change my heart or the situation. Believe it or not, this is not easy for me. I guess I try not to be a complainer so I don’t notice stuff unless it is really bad!

I don’t think it is because I have already given it to God. It goes back to my original posts about how I have always taken care of myself. In a way, I am second guessing whether I have the right to complain about anything. Complaining doesn’t do any good, it just ruins the rest of the day so it is a waste of time and energy. Best to continue on and keep making things happen, right?

The point is a good one anyway. I think I am going to make it a habit to pay attention to when things that are worthy of complaint and redirect them to God instead of just making myself think they are not important enough to worry about it. It won’t be worry if I give it to God!

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and health to the body. Proverbs 16:26

Is it Day 15 already?!

Hi there! Welcome to Day 15 of 21 days to cultivate a grateful heart. Day 15 was a hard one for me because it talks about something I definitely should be doing but don’t always remember to do…Thank God before my meals.

It isn’t that I am not thankful. Actually, I typically thank God in the morning for all the parts of my day. Doesn’t that include meals? So praying before eating is like doubling up on my prayer in the morning.

Do you pray before you eat? And is it every time you eat or just when you are having meals? I mean, I like to get a candy bar when I go to the store and eat it in the car on my way home. Should I pray before I open that?

I guess there is no right or wrong answer. Just being thankful for the little things helps to have a grateful heart. Even those M&Ms you just ate!

Do you see God in your everyday life?!

Hey Everyone! I hope you are all having a great week. I am, things have been pretty awesome at the shelter and I have been trying to develop a relationship with a pet store near us that would be willing to foster some cats in the store so we can try to get them adopted. I have a diabetic cat that is beautiful and charming, but also needs two shots a day. That shouldn’t be an issue except that everyone who falls in love with her backs away when the insulin is mentioned. Haley feels like it is because people don’t want to have to do the shot but I think it is 50% that and 50% a money issue. Insulin is actually not terribly expensive, but if you don’t know you don’t know! Anyway, I am praying that Mia finds the perfect person to adopt her while she is being fostered by Pet Valu.

That actually ties into the reflect for day 14. It asks me to reflect on recognizing God throughout my day. It says to redirect my thoughts from my busyness to His goodness to fuel my gratefulness. I wish I could say that I do recognize God throughout my day but that would be a lie, and lying is a sin! (It is, right? If it isn’t it should be!) I will start doing this consciously tomorrow, but I will go over the different times from today here.

The first way that I feel God was with me was when I awoke this morning. Opening my eyes and taking in the air and the world around me is such a gift and I get to open it every day! I usually thank God for letting me have another day before I even get out of bed so I guess I recognize Him then. I went to do a feline care job (thank you God for the gift of understanding cats!) and then to Home Depot to buy a few things for the shelter and my house. (Thank you God for giving me the opportunities I need to make the money!) I went to the shelter after that and was able to catch two of the difficult cats to put outside on the Catio (the shelter is being sprayed for bugs and fleas). No one else could get them outside and they were afraid to use the heavy duty gloves to pick them up. So thank you God for allowing me to not be afraid when handling the difficult cats. And while I am at it, thank you for putting me in this place. Haley and Jessica are definitely attune to the dogs’ needs and quirks and Heidi and I are the cat whisperers. Heidi is probably more on the dog side but she is a really big help to me so I am claiming her hahaha. I walked with a friend today (I recognize God’s gift of the physical ability to walk). Thank you for giving me the words I needed to talk to the people at Pet Valu and Thank you for putting someone there who can give Mia her insulin (she has a diabetic dog so the shots are no big deal plus she can watch for signs of distress in Mia because she knows what to look for!) Finally, Thank you God for giving me the thoughts and words necessary to write in this blog. Hopefully I will reach someone who needs to be reminded that God shows up in everything they do.

So that is it. I see God in really everything that goes on in my day to day life. I have only really “seen him” on the big stuff but this exercise has reminded me that he is there for the little stuff, too. All the little things add up to big things to help me live my best life. So Thank you God for my best life!

Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Exodus 16:10

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Hello all! Day 11 is all about the hard things I am walking through right now and how or if I see God showing up on my behalf. I am starting to feel like these days are pretty much a repeat of each other…a reminder to thank God for ALL that happens in my life because his hand is in everything. The point I have gathered from all the days up until now is that even when it feels like you are abandoned, God is working in the background to make it all work out. Unlike the “Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz” God’s reach is not smoke and mirrors. It is hard to see how things will work when there is no man behind the curtain but I am learning to trust that He IS working in the background for my betterment.

Anyway, back to day 11. Some hard things I am walking through right now that I see God showing up on my behalf? The pursuit of money is a big one. I have a “working interview” at the shelter job I applied for. You know, the job that just appeared at the very time I was asking God to open doors for me if He thought I should get a part time job. The same job that had set hours and when I said I was unable to work those hours but offered different hours instead, they said okay? Yea, I would say God was behind all that! I mean, if I had been asking around and applying at places but I HAD NOT EVEN STARTED LOOKING when the job presented itself to me. If that isn’t God giving me a sign, I don’t know what is!

Money is always a big reason people pray to God I think. People who don’t consistently pray will ask for God to grant them “this job, this win fall, etc.” They will promise in return to be believers and I bet some actually see God in their fortune and DO become believers. More often, though, it doesn’t work out as they expect and they blame God for not answering their pleas. Money is a big reason for me NOT to pray in the past. I have, in the past, not ‘wasted my time with prayer’ when there were things to do. I have always just figured out what I needed to do and then do it. I now realize that I have never truly been on my own, God has been patiently waiting in the backdrop for me to see Him and how He is helping me. Thank you God for loving me and working for me even when I was unaware of your help. Even when I was feeling like you had left me to take care of myself and I didn’t acknowledge you–I truthfully didn’t believe that You were there and that you had abandoned me. Still, you continued to work in my favor. Thank you Father!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever. Psalms 118:1

Shut up, Frank!

Hello there! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week. I am 🙂 I have been feeling pretty down over the last few days but I haven’t really been sleeping well so that is a big reason why. Life would be so boring if it was always sunny!!!

Day 10 asks me to write out a few “good” circumstances in my life and a few “not so good” circumstances to give thanks to the Lord for. The point being that it is really hard to see the good when you are upset about something awful that is happening but, as it was said before, everything that God does is for a greater good.

I will say the biggest good circumstance in my life as of late is the fact that I have been able to focus on the opportunities and gifts ahead of me (and less on how terrible my life is!). I have been able to make some decisions without overthinking to the point that I am just frozen in place. Just overall, my life has been pretty awesome!

The flip side to that would be that it is a struggle to live this awesome life. I definitely spend a lot of time telling my subconscious (Frank!) to shut up because he keeps telling me how hard it is going to be. Frank reminds me of my age and how I am starting over like a 20 year old but I am practically over the hill. Frank tells me that I am never going to be my version of perfect, I will always be fat, my wrinkles are getting more prominent…etc. etc. etc.

It is easy to thank God for all the good in my life, I usually do when I wake up in the morning and before my feet hit the floor. I don’t usually think to thank Him for the difficult parts of my day; over the last few days/weeks of the bible study I have thanked Him for the REALLY BAD stuff but the little insignificant stuff just falls through the cracks. Another lesson learned in my 21 days to a grateful heart!

I thank God for giving me the wisdom to be able to know that it is Frank’s voice in my head and not my true voice or the voice of my God. I thank God for giving me the strength to know I am not practically over the hill, fat, wrinkly, or anything else that may be placed in my thoughts. I thank God for speaking to my heart and talking louder and prouder than Frank so there is no mistaking the words of my heavenly Father. And finally, I thank God for giving me the tool to “turn it around” when anything happens. Instead of thinking about how horrible a situation is, I have this knack for finding the good that came out of it. God did that for me!!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Thanking God for my circumstances

So Day 9 and 10 are kind of intertwined. Day 9 asks me to list all the parts of my day (big and small) and thank God for each part. Day 10 asks me to list the little ways that God is present and helping me throughout my day (my God Smiles!). Since they are both so interlaced, I will do both!

This morning I woke up, texted my friend like I do every day to let her know (and let me know) that we are fine, got dressed, brushed my teeth and hair, and left the house for my morning cat sitting jobs. (thank you God!) It was raining on and off today, but when I left for work there was a small amount of time where it was clear (so I could get into the car without getting completely soaked!) (God Smile!)

I was meeting a customer to get her key and it worked out perfectly that the time I left to take my walk (an hour and a half of alone time with God and my thoughts…Thank you God for clearing my schedule so I can do this walk!) and the time she left to run errands had us both in the center of town at about the same time. I was able to get the key from her without having to meet her somewhere later in the day (I was babysitting my granddaughter so I didn’t actually have time!). After my walk, which I wore a rain coat for in case I got completely rained on and I did not!, I had time to jump in the shower and make myself beautiful before I had to rush out to do evening cat visits.

When I was doing my dinner visits, I was feeling stressed and anxious because I had told my daughter I would be there earlier than I ever had before. I seemed to get stuck behind every slow person in the world (!) and then when I got to the assisted living facility I finish my day in I ran into the daughter of one of the residents whose cat is on my run. My first thought was dang, I am definitely going to be late now. But she told me that she had to catch up with me because she wanted to let me know that I looked really good. She said that my face looks noticeably thinner and I even walk different. Now I have already mentioned that I am vain but it is all an act. I am actually pretty insecure and it was SO GOOD TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE NOTICE. I am working out like a crazy person lately!

The bottom line is this–today was a pretty typical day in the life of me. There were times when things didn’t go my way (like getting stuck behind the sight-seeing people on Saybrook Road!) but because I am trying to keep an attitude of gratitude, I turned it around. I assume that when things don’t go my way it is just God keeping me where he needs me a little longer. Maybe there was an accident about to happen that I avoided because I was going slower than I would have liked? It is not in my job description to guess what God is doing or thinking. Actually, that is the main thought on Faith! Thanking God for the good and the bad parts of every day should be second nature for people. It is for me now!